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Nom the Mom 2012: Surprising the finalists!  by Tara

May18

Three incredible women. Nearly 300 votes. One winner was determined, but all three were honored. Here’s how it all went down when we surprised each on the finalists on Friday, May 11th:

Judy Brewer
Status: Runner Up

Surprised at: Carlos O’Kelley’s
Co-Conspirator: Elizabeth, her daughter

Judy was already having a fabulous Friday when I came to surprise her. Elizabeth was graduating from college the following day, so Judy’s sister came up for a visit and all the girls planned on doing lunch together followed by a pedicure. Oh la la! I worked with Elizabeth to catch them just after they got seated at Carlos O’Kelley’s. After a series of texts, calls and one really awful parking job, I met Elizabeth outside the restaurant, where she led me to meet the wonderful Judy.

As I approached the table with a gorgeous arrangement of flowers, her mom’s face erupted into a huge smile. I introduced myself and let her know that she was a runner up in our contest. She was extremely grateful and overwhelmed with the honor. Like the selfless mom that we’ve come to know and love, Judy started gushing about how fabulous her daughter is. It was obvious that these two have an incredible relationship.

I didn’t keep the family very long so that they could continue on with the rest of their “girls day,” although I’m certain Judy would have been totally fine if I started sneaking a few chips with salsa and then joined them for a pedi. That’s just the kind of wonderful mama she is!

Karen Brenneman
Status: Runner Up
Surprised at: Her Home
Co-Conspirator: Greg, her son

Surprising Karen was a little bit different. She had taken the day off work, so Greg and I weren’t sure where she would be at any given time. So instead of trying to chase her down, I called to let her know about the little surprise that Linn Area Credit Union wanted to give her. I have to tell you that even after a short convo on the phone, it was easy to tell why she had so many votes of support. Such a sweetheart!

I popped over to Karen’s home in the afternoon and was greeted with a warm smile. She was just as easy to talk to in person as she was on the phone – whew! As we chatted about the contest, Karen started to tell me about how her son Greg can’t keep a secret and told her right away about his story. It was really cute.  8-) As she told me more about her children and how proud she is of them, the tears started coming. Oh man. Even I got a little choked up!

Karen certainly is an amazing woman and we’re so glad that Greg nominated her!

Helen Girard
Status: Winner of the City Looks Salon & Spa Day of Beauty
Surprised at: Truman Elementary
Co-Conspirator: Shirley, her daughter

For the second year in a row, the person your chose as your winner had NO IDEA that she was even nominated. (I swear, I don’t know how people make it happen!) When Shirley heard about the contest, she started to contact not just her own friends and family, but she got in contact with the schools that Helen volunteers at. Many of the votes came from parents and past students whose lives she had touched tremendously. But Shirley didn’t stop there. Nope. She hacked into her mom’s email and managed to get contact info for Helen’s past colleagues and friends from college. Talk about a group effort.

Shirley continued her super stealth moves, determining where her mom would be volunteering that afternoon and then working with that school to allow us the clearance to make the BIG surprise. So at 2:00 pm on Friday afternoon, I pulled into Truman Elementary and waited for the “a-ok” from Shirley. Funny story, as Shirley was arriving at the school, her mom was on the road at the same time. Shirley had to quickly divert to a side street before Helen noticed her!

Once I got the all clear, Shirley and a Truman co-conspirator ushered me to the perfect hiding place off to the side on the gym. Shirley stood with me, shaking with excitement. Literally, the girl was shaking like a leaf. We could hear them bringing in the group of kindergarteners that Helen was working with that day. Helen joined them, none the wiser… cue me and a basket of goodies! (Click here to see the video of how it all went down!)

To say that Helen was shocked is the understatement of the year. In true form, after the initial shock, Helen turned to the group of kids and started to tell them how special each and every one of them are. Sure, her words were directed to the kids that were in the gym at that very moment, but it was clear to me that they applied to every person that she had ever influenced. This woman whole-heartedly believes in the success of the kids, not only in school, but in their home lives as well.

Needless to say, there were lots of tears and hugs.

As we started to give Helen more details about the contest, she was overwhelmed to find out how many people had come out of the woodwork to vote for her. What I wouldn’t give to be a fly on the wall when Helen reads all the wonderful comments that people left as to why she was deserving of the Day of Beauty. Hopefully there are many boxes of Kleenex available for that tear jerking experience!

Indeed, Helen is very deserving of some pampering and we’re proud that she will reign as our Linn Area Credit Union 2012 Nom the Mom!

We couldn’t be happier that these three women were our 2012 Nom the Mom finalists. What impeccable examples of love, strength and unconditional love. Congratulations goes out to all of them and their families! A big thank you goes out to City Looks Salon & Spa for putting together the gorgeous basket for our winner. And, of course, thanks to all of you who voted!

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